For all of Clint Trickett’s passing yards and Kevin White’s highlight-reel catches and the productive running game that complements them, it’s not the West Virginia offense that has meant the most in turning the Mountaineers around this season.
It’s what’s happened on defense that matters.
That should go without saying, but often it’s overlooked. That’s especially true in the Big 12, where defensive excellence is gauged far differently than some other places in the country.
In the Big Ten or even the SEC, holding an opponent to 20 or so points is often necessary because sometimes offenses are hard-pressed to score many more than that. In the Big 12, pretty much anyone is capable of throwing 40 or 50 on the board as a matter of routine, so what it takes defensively to claim an advantage is a bit different.
Two years ago, West Virginia had Geno Smith, Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey and piled up both the yards and the points. But the defense couldn’t stop anyone and so scores were 70-63, 48-45, 50-49, 39-38 and the like and the Mountaineers were often on the short end while going 7-6. Even last year, with a rebuilding offense, WVU scored 44, 42 and 40 points and lost all three games while allowing 52, 47 and 73.
Yes, offense is important. But it’s useless if your defense makes the opponent’s offense even better.
via The Charleston Gazette | Dave Hickman: Credit coaches for WVU’s defensive gains.